When a blind Paralympic swimmer reaches the end of the pool in a competition, they get tapped on the back or head by a steward/coach so they know when to flip to turn and complete another length.
Samsung’s new Blind Cap, developed with the Spanish Paralympic Committee and Cheil Spain, replaces the tapping poles with a gentle vibration at each end of the pool.
The alerts are controlled, of course, via the Blind Cap app running on a Gear S2 smartwatch worn by a coach (or indeed an S7 or any Android phone) and connected to the Blind Cap using Bluetooth. The coach simply has to tap once on the smartwatch or phone to alert the swimmer.
The cap also collects some activity data about the swimmer’s performance but we don’t have details yet on exactly what this includes.
The smart swimming cap has been created for elite swimmers only but there’s no confirmation yet as to whether it would be allowed in competition as well as training. The current method has been in use since blind swimming became a Paralympic sport in 1960.
Still, Breno Cotta, executive creative director of Cheil Spain, seemed confident: “It’s much more than a wearable, it serves as a standard of innovation and we are convinced that it will soon be a reality in the Paralympic Games,” he said.
Wearables for swimmers
The official Blind Cap YouTube channel reads: “Samsung wants to bring technology to elite athletes, allowing them to go a step further by improving the conditions of the sport in which they dedicate their lives to.”
The Blind Cap Android app page currently invites athletes to ‘become a tester’ of the unreleased app with Samsung Spain. As we said, other details are scarce at the moment but we’ll update this story when we find out more about the project.
Source: Digital Sport